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Turkey bans filming at protests to hide police violence, rights groups say

As Ankara tries to ban recordings of both citizens and police at protests, press freedom advocates in Turkey are fighting back.
BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images

Turkish civil rights groups are taking legal action on a controversial circular issued April 30 by Turkey’s General Directorate of Security banning all audio-visual recordings of citizens and police at protests, in a further blow to press freedom in Turkey.

The Ankara Bar Association has demanded the circular be repealed. Its timing suggested that its immediate purpose was to prevent reporting on protests planned for May Day, when police brutality against demonstrators typically soars. In its petition to the Council of State, which adjudicates administrative decisions, the bar association noted that immediately after the circular was issued, police prevented a reporter from filming “disproportionate police violence” against demonstrators seeking to make their way to Istanbul’s Taksim Square.

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